hanne lydia

Illustrating the invisible


“Outside Home”, Trondheim Museum of Art, 20 February – 19 March 2000.

By Rand Nygaard Lium


How do we make the invisible visible? How do we accentuate the forgotten who deserve to be remebered? These questions are fundamental in Hanne Lydia Opøien Kristoffersen`s (b. 1964) artistic work. With a persional message in an innovative form, her work has attracted attention at several major exhibitions in Norway. such as her installation “The Scarlets”, wich she showed at the exhibition “Shelter” at the National Museum of Decorative Artsin Trondheim in 1997. red lights in combination with text on placards in a small format emphasised the life and deeds of several women from the past in Trondheim, remarkable individuals who have not been accentuated or mentioned in the history books, but who made a great contribution in a number of areas. The lights and texts emerged as interesting lumnious “pictures” against the neutral walls of the museum. Colour, space, light and text formed a convincing whole – sensitive and aggressive. My meeting with this work gave rise to reflection and thought. I was impressed by the work of this young artist.


Therorethical research work makes up a significant part of Hanne Lydia Kristoffersen`s artistic work. She acquires a great deal of knowledge on subjects she immerses herself in. In the “Ich heiratete...” exhibition in Berlin in 1998 she showed placards with light that illustrated the genealogy of her family over 11 generations, originating in Germany. It was precisely the bride, marriage and the number of children in the families that was a key element of the texts. Her family`s fate and means of subsistence from generation to generation were poetically described.


In the exhibition “Outside house” the artist immerses herself in a new subject with the intallation “Life according to Sara”. Sara is an 18-year old girl who is different from the others because she suffers from the condition Trisomy 1. This condition is caused by a chromosome defect. Sara`s story is visualised with respect and empathy by the artist, who incorporates Sara into her own autobiography. Kristoffersen demonstrates a special ability to identify herself with an individual who is completely outside society.

Kristoffersen`s artistic technique reminds me of the American artist Judy Chicago, who accentuated women in history by inviting them to a big party in her major installation “The Dinner Party” (1972). In “ The Dinner Party” the women were presented at a large table where each one of them was given a ceramic plate placed on a special tablecloth. The design of the tablecloth and plate accentuated precisely the personality and story of  each individual woman. The artistic media used by Kristoffersen and Chicago are different, but the theoretical foundations the installations are based on are related.


The Danish art historian Alice Andersen is preoccupied by female artists and their form of expression. In the article “De ysynlige kvinder og kvindeæstetikken som formidler af tilsynekomsten” The invisible women and the Aesthetics of women as a mediator of Apperance) in the “Forum for Kvinneforskning” (Forum for Women`s Research”), Copenhagen 1981, she points out precisely that a significant part of the aesteichs of women is to rediscover and value women artists  and understand the concept of art and culture in a manner that places the cultural products of women in a more central position.

With her innovative form of expression we can place the works of Hanne Lydia O, Kristoffersen in an interesting tradition that is marked by courage and the transgression that is marked by courage and the transgression of boudaries.









last century
the Other
I am a block
The Storm
Pizza and Death
Being mistaken
true story
northward, by the sea
panties and threats
drawings on the right
drawings that grip you
private violence
marked for life
the scarlets
various text